Rain, Rain Everywhere, But Not in the Right Place…

Steve Noble
Steve Noble

As the City of Kingston explores options to separate outdated combined sewage outflow lines, officials may want to consider including a broader storm water mitigation plan that involves installing rain barrels for homes, schools, businesses, hospitals and municipal buildings.

Why? Well, the benefits are enormous, and include reducing the volume of water that has to be treated. More importantly, capturing rain water keeps it from flowing into storm water drains along with road salts, oils and other contaminants on our city roads. And not only does this make our streams and rivers much less polluted, but capturing water reduces flooding.

This past Saturday at the Forsyth Nature Center, Steve Noble, environmental educator, gave a workshop on rain barrels and how easy it is to install one. The barrels cost about $100, and the water captured can be used to wash your car, water your garden and water your plants.

Steve said during the summer months, a rain barrel can save a homeowner about 1,300 gallons of water. If the city were to implement a rain barrel pilot program, say with 500 barrels installed, more than 650,000 gallons of water could be diverted — which saves money in water treatment costs and reduces pollutants as well as flooding.

Worth considering? And as this prior post points out, there could even be a cottage industry here in harvesting rain.

In the meantime, there are other ways that residents can help to reduce the volume of waste water in their homes. Here are some tips from Steve:

* Don’t cut your lawn grass low. Higher grass needs less water.

* Fix dripping faucets, which can waste 54 gallons per month.

* Take shorter showers.

* Turn of the faucet while shaving, washing, brushing teeth and washing dishes.

Interested in buying a rain barrel? Check out the benefits here. To purchase one, see Gaiam or check this page out.

–Arthur Zaczkiewicz

4 thoughts on “Rain, Rain Everywhere, But Not in the Right Place…”

  1. Finally meeting Steve Noble and seeing all that he and Julie have done with the nature center was the highlight of my day. They make hard work look easy. Kingston is lucky to have them.

    Rainwater harvesting has enormous benefits for the individual homeowner and community at large. Rainwater tends to be soft and free of chlorine and other chemicals that municipalities use to treat drinking water – therefore your garden, lawn and water interests will love it. During the summer months the average home uses 40% of its water supply for their yard. Harvesting the rainwater from natural cycles may even help put a small dent in your water bill during the months you utilize it.

    There are communities right here in NYS that have invested in rainwater harvesting education and deployment, and have been successful.

    “Save the Rain” is the new campaign by Onondaga County (with help from Cornell Cooperative Extension) to educate the public and enhance urban settings by building and developing green infrastructure throughout the community. http://www.ongov.net/savetherain

    The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper has a goal of annually distributing 1,000 rain barrels to residents in Buffalo, Erie and Niagara Counties.

    NYC DEP has successfully run a 2 yr rain barrel giveaway in Queens to help mitigate urban flooding during wet weather events:

    Given the state of our very own CSO here in Kingston and the recent threats to levy heavy daily fines on the city for not being compliant with regard to sewage overflows, rainwater harvesting by homeowners and municipal buildings may show a sign of good faith and buy Kingston some time to formalize a plan. A plan that I hope includes green alternative solutions and addresses the needs of sustainability.

  2. Rain barrels are also available at Adam’s Fairacre Farms. Just like the ones the nobles have on display. They run $145 a pop – but make up for it and more quite quickly in the summer months where gardens are concerned.


  3. It always amazes me , what was old is new again. I grew up tending the garden with my grandpa and we always watered the garden from the rain barrel. How and why did we ever get away from the concept.?

    We are getting a rainbarrel for the simple fact that we need a way to keep water away from our foundation which is causing flooding in our basement. Since we had our rain gutters detached from the pipe that takes it into the sewer we have water going everywhere. And based on the last city council caucus there is going to be more inspections of rain gutters and its run off. It is a city ordinance that these pipes are supposed to be disconnected from the sewer line.Many gutters are still attached to lines in this city.

  4. Great post, rain barrels are a great start for people who are new to the whole concept or are harvesting rain from a small rooftop. When more harvesting is desired, it’s time to step it up to a rainwater harvesting system. Would it be possible for you to re-post this article in our rainwater harvesting blog forum? You really run a great blog and I really think our community would love to know about it. Feel free to re-post all your postings that have to do with water harvesting. Thanks and way to go on creating such an informative blog!


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